Most people in Germany prefer doing their Christmas shopping downtown or in malls and not online, a study by Ernst & Young (EY) has found. Some 68 per cent of interviewees preferred purchasing gifts in stationary retail while only 12 per cent preferred shopping online. Brigitte Nolte, Managing Director of the German Trade Association (Handelsverband Nord Hamburg) has noted a changing trend in Hamburg, but says there are many reasons for shopping locally. “Shopping in Hamburg and above all at Christmas is an experience for the senses. At Christmas, you have the scent of mulled wine and gingerbread. Christmas music can be heard everywhere and the city is festively decorated,” said Nolte.
Hamburg attracting tourists at Christmas
Businesses pay the (considerable) costs of Christmas lights and decorations via the “Business Improvement Districts” (BID) launched in 2005 to improve the competitiveness of Hamburg’s suburbs. Investments in Christmas are proving worthwhile, according to Nolte, adding: “Hamburg stands out with a high quality of stay and the special atmosphere in our city is valued not only by the people of Hamburg. Many visitors from the surrounding regions come to the city at Christmas and tourists from Germany and abroad come for a day or weekend.“ Hamburg is very popular among Scandinavian guests.
Something for everyone
The Hanseatic city has something for everyone at Christmas. Few other cites have such a wealth of Christmas highlights – such as parades every Saturday in Advent (2 pm to 5 pm in Mönckebergstraße) featuring all kinds of fancily-dressed dwarves and angels, elves and reindeer to markets down near Lake Alster and a growing number of different Christmas markets throughout the city. Hamburg Tourismus has identified five kinds of Christmas people and offers tips for suitable Christmas markets. The luxurist e.g. is predestined for the market in Überseequartier in Hafencity or the “White Magic” market on Jungfernstieg whereas Sankt Pauli and the Reeperbahn are ideal for the grinch.
Another Christmas record expected
Apart from arts and crafts, perfume and cosmetics, watches and jewellery, books, electronic media and toys are are high on shopping lists. A growing consumer mood has been noticeable in Hamburg since 2011. Nolte added: “We are expecting Christmas business to yield turnover of around EUR 2.5 billion in November and December alone or 3 per cent growth over 2016.”
Desire for slow living
Trends such as the self-made movement or slow-living concepts are “not really” having an effect, said Nolte. “However, the wish for slow-living is a possible answer to our fast-paced era and the maker movement is catering to an increasing wish for individualisation.”